by Christy Bieber | Aug. 8, 2019
Money fights are common in a marriage -- but there are ways to avoid them. Here are some ways my husband and I avoid fighting about cash.
My husband and I have been married for eight years. In all that time, we have never once exchanged a cross word about money. This puts us in the minority of married couples, as money is one of the leading causes of relationship strife.
Our ability to handle finances without fighting definitely isn't magic and it's not because we're both perfect when it comes to spending and saving (although I wish that was the case). It's because we've been really strategic about the way we handle finances, especially since he's a saver and I tend to be a spender.
If you find yourself in a position where you're having fights with your beloved about finances, perhaps some of our tricks could help you. Here are the steps we've taken to make sure we never get into fights about our money.
One reason we never fight about finances is because we took the time to get on the same page about the big stuff -- like how much we need to save for retirement, what we need in emergency savings, and how much to spend on a house. We had these conversations before we got married and we re-evaluate once a year or if something big changes, like when we recently decided to have a baby.
It took more than one discussion to come up with a broad financial plan. But once we did, we automated the process to achieve our goals. This means we transfer money automatically each month to our savings accounts, retirement funds, and our mortgage (previously our house down payment fund).
By making sure money goes effortlessly where we need it to, we don't need to rehash these decisions over and over -- and neither of us is responsible for paying the bills. The automated transfers never change unless we agree they should, which means the bills get paid without any effort and without either one of us questioning where the money is going.
If you don't have money put aside, figuring out how to pay unexpected expenses can cause a lot of money fights. It often means making cuts from your budget and you may not be able to reach a consensus on how to do that. Surprise expenses can also lead to credit card debt, which can cause financial worries that lead to further relationship strife.
My husband and I eliminated the risk of unexpected expenses by saving up an emergency fund immediately. We cut our spending to the bone and didn't spend on anything frivolous until we had three months worth of living expenses saved up in our emergency account. Then, over time, we worked on building up the account even further.
This emergency fund means we don't have any stress if a surprise costs creeps up -- and we don't have to fight about whether we can afford it. We just take the money we need out of the account and then work on building back the savings. This was a lifesaver recently when our dog got sick, as we could get her the expensive surgery she needed without the additional worry of making difficult sacrifices that we might not agree on.
Another big reason why we don't fight about money is that neither of us tries to tell the other what to do with it.
We each contribute a set amount to our shared goals (with those automated payments mentioned above) and put our household expenses onto a joint credit card bill. The rest of our money goes into separate accounts and we each spend it -- or invest it -- however we like with no question or oversight from the other person.
This evolved out of necessity for us because we're both self-employed and maintain separate business accounts. But it has turned out to be one of the best decisions in our marriage. My husband invests in some things I don't think are wise, but I don't question what he does with his cash just as he never questions what I do with mine.
Since we know we're both working towards our shared goals and accomplishing what we need, we don't need to monitor each other's spending or seek permission about purchases. With the freedom to do what we like with a good portion of our monthly income, there's no reason for us to ever disagree.
Finally, the single biggest reason why we never fight about money is because we've chosen to celebrate the totally different attitudes that we have towards finances.
I appreciate that my husband is more of a saver and is more cautious about money because he inspired me to put more into savings than I would have on my own. I don't get annoyed that his focus on saving may mean I can't buy everything I want right away, because I know he's taking care of our future financial security and looking out for us as a couple.
At the same time, he chooses not to get perturbed about my spending habits. Instead, he has decided to focus on the ways I've helped him to enjoy life more by encouraging him to spend on some amazing experiences he might not otherwise have had if he'd stuck to his overly frugal ways.
Unless your partner is being financially unfaithful or is truly irresponsible with spending, there's no reason to ever fight about money. If you can come to a consensus on the big goals and automate the process, prepare for emergencies, and give each other flexibility, you too can have a relationship free of money fights once and for all.
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